The dramatic new Welsh language musical ‘Branwen: y Dadeni’ has just come to the end of a very successful run throughout Wales, selling out everywhere and gathering positive reviews, particularly for its scope and ambition. 

We followed its journey with particular interest (and with some free tickets as well!) because the Millennium Centre had asked SaySomethingin to help Rithvik Andugula prepare for his role as Matholwch, the King of Ireland (who marries Branwen and then imprisons her). 

Rithvik’s family come originally from India, but he lived in Cardiff for much of his childhood and got his GCSE in second language Welsh. He wasn’t a confident speaker, though, and Matholwch is one of the main parts, so he had some understandable nerves at the start of the process.

Fortunately, in a couple of intensive days with Aran, Rithvik turned out to be an extremely fast learner and to have a very good ear for the language. He was one of the fastest learners Aran has worked with, right up there with Carol Vorderman and Jeremy Vine, and his confidence improved dramatically as he saw the progress he was making. He was left with a mountain to climb with the script itself, but he worked his heart out and did superbly – he was convincing and entertaining on stage, bringing his natural swagger and rhythm to the role.

Rithvik is a very grounded young man, full of positive energy and compassion for others, and we’re looking forward to seeing him build a hugely successful career. He’s got all of Matholwch’s charm and humour, but without the tendency to imprison innocent Welsh women – we hope to see him continue his journey with the language and star in many more Welsh language productions in the future.

As Storm Debi threw rain, wind and freezing cold at all of us this week, The National Centre for Learning Welsh held an event that warmed all who attended.

The Norwegian Church Arts Centre, on the banks of Cardiff Bay, was the location for the official launch of a Learn Welsh resource to the skills section of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The Centre developed the resource, covering 13 units that combine online self-study with practical tasks to introduce words, phrases and language patterns around themes such as Welsh music and culture.

To illustrate how learning the Welsh language can transform young lives, a panel of four recent learners described their learning experience and what it meant to them to enter the “Welsh Language World.”

Their open and honest descriptions of their Welsh language journey and how it has made their lives so much more rewarding were truly inspirational. As was the fact that all spoke so clearly and well in Welsh, a language none of them had spoken only two years before.

When asked about language tips for new learners, one of the panel, (with absolutely no prompting,) highlighted the importance of SaySomethingin to build confidence for spoken Welsh. He loved using the SSiW app whilst washing-up and in the bath!

SaySomethingin are happy to help any Welsh language learner wherever and whenever we can!


In 2022, I had one of the more unexpected and entertaining experiences to bubble up out of working for SaySomethinginWelsh.

One of our Iaith ar Daith graduates, Joanna Scanlan (who won a best actress BAFTA for her hugely powerful work in ‘After Love’) messaged me to ask if I would help out a friend of hers who wanted to make sure that the north-east Welsh accents were right for a stage production of ‘The Corn is Green’ at the National Theatre in London. 

I’ve been working hard on saying ‘no’ to projects which aren’t on the main path for building SaySomethinginWelsh – going in too many different directions at once has always been a weakness of mine – and I managed to message Joanna back to say I didn’t think I was the right person. Saying ‘no’ felt like an important step forward in my personal development.

It was only a very small step, though. Joanna is not very fond of the word ‘no’. She called me, and I discovered that my new skill only stretched as far as written messages – on a live call, my ability to say ‘no’ vanished like the morning mist. 

I’m so glad Joanna didn’t accept my ‘no’! I ended up visiting the National Theatre three times during rehearsals, and getting to work with the extraordinarily talented Penny Dyer, who has done all sorts of fascinating projects, including ‘The Last Kingdom’ (which Catrin and I loved when we’d run out of ‘Vikings’) and once lying underneath a table just out of shot to coach Tom Cruise on his Russian accent. It was a steep and fascinating learning curve.

I felt full to overflowing with imposter syndrome the whole way through, but it was a glorious experience. Penny told me that the director, Dominic Cooke, was well-known for only working with friendly, positive people, and the atmosphere at rehearsals was a joy to witness. I embarrassed myself mildly by being slightly starstruck by Richard Lynch – when I explained to the others that he was a very well-known baddy in Pobol y Cwm, he said ‘I prefer to think he’s misunderstood’. Richard was a genuinely wonderful person, and ended up providing a new recording of our southern course, which has been enormously valuable. I also blotted my copybook by not knowing who Nicola Walker was, and telling her after one rehearsal that I thought she was building towards a really powerful performance. Putting that down in words makes me wince all over again.

All the actors I worked with were so friendly and positive and hard-working, by the time Catrin and I went down to watch the opening night, I was a bag of nerves, wanting them all to be absolutely perfect. When Richard nailed ‘Nos dawch’ instead of the more normal ‘nos da’ for him, I may even have given a very little fist pump quietly to myself. And the transformation from the last rehearsal I’d seen to the first night was breath-taking, all the playing with space and structure and props that I hadn’t seen before. I knew immediately that I wanted to come down for the last night as well.

The Corn is Green progranne
Aran Jones - information

David Marsland, the stage manager, was so kind that he gave us an extra couple of tickets for Catrin’s parents to come with us to the final night. Catrin’s mother Rose, who was 90, turned out to remember the film of ‘The Corn is Green’, so that became a mad-cap family trip to London, arriving out of breath just before the curtain went up. Then, thanks to David, we were able to take Catrin’s parents through to the after-show party, where her mother held court. The cast were delighted to meet their ideal target audience, a 90 year old Welsh speaker who remembered the film and had come all the way from Pwllheli to see the production – that was why they’d worked so hard on their accents – and they were all so lovely to Rose. Nicola Walker even gave Rose her leading lady flowers! When the party spilled out onto the South Bank, we could see people walking past wondering who Rose was, surrounded in her wheelchair by stars of stage and screen. It was very hard to persuade her to leave. 

I told Joanna that she’d gotten me well and truly bitten by the theatre bug, although it might be a little late in life for me to change careers. At the moment, I’m doing a bit of work with Rithvik Andugula, who is pushing himself extremely hard with his Welsh for a lead rôle in ‘Branwen: y Dadeni’, and once again I can’t wait for opening night. I told Joanna that I’d loved the experience so much, it had made me want to try and write for stage – she warned me that wasn’t going to be a very fast route back to the National Theatre! I don’t know if I could actually learn to write for stage, but I do know that any bits of coaching I get to help people with theatre productions, I’m always going to love. 

Oh, and several weeks after I thought all the fun was over, I got a postcard from Nicola Walker. ‘I love every second of Welsh language speaking we get to hear on the stage, it’s completely thrilling.’ Penny was right about Dominic – he only works with the loveliest people.

The great and the good of the global EdTech sector were joined by Tom and Nick of SSi at London’s Tobacco Dock for the 10th edtechX conference towards the end of June.

What an event!

Many of the leading lights who are pushing the limits of technology to deliver a wide range of developments for all aspects of education were there.

For example, the possibilities that Artificial Intelligence,(Ai,) is opening for every aspect of education will transform the sector but, hold on, check out Organoid Intelligence (Oi,) that will take Ai to another level!

We lapped up such insights and are now thinking how to incorporate them within SSi delivery systems.

A packed agenda of speakers and panels were interspersed with networking sessions, all topped off with a gala dinner!

Tom and Nick made the most of the whole day and made some amazing contacts that will help SSi as we seek working partnerships in the future.

Way back in its infancy in 2011, SSi was nominated for an Inspire Wales Award and won the Global Wales category. For a company so young it was an overwhelming experience, but also an incredible boost to keep going despite the odds.

This month, twelve years after that glorious event, we found ourselves once more biting our nails watching a gold envelope being opened, but this time at a different awards ceremony – The Wales Business Awards.

It was an honour for SSi to not only have been nominated for a Wales Business Award but also to have been one of the finalists for the Digital Business of the Year category, listed among the brightest and the best in Wales.

Now in their 20th year, the Wales Business Awards (which celebrate ‘gold-standard businesses’ from all sectors across Wales) aim to reward the successes of businesses within the last year.

This year’s glitzy, Great Gatsby-themed awards ceremony was held at the ICC Wales in Newport on Thursday the 18th of May, and was hosted by broadcaster Andrea Byrne. 

Aran Jones, Catrin Jones, Dr Joanne Phoenix, Nick Prichard, and Tom Cassidy represented SSi at the ceremony, taking advantage of the invaluable opportunity to network. We met with so many impassioned and hard-working individuals, who form the backbone of some of Wales’ most innovative businesses.

The evening was a spectacular success, filled with some amazing 1920s-themed outfits and music from the swing band Almost Modern Jukebox.

EatSleep Media was the very worthy winner of our category – a highly creative team of individuals who create cutting-edge digital content for a wide range of platforms. If you have the time it’s worth checking out their website!

We did walk away with a bottle of prosecco from the raffle, though, we only wish we could share it with all of you!

On the day that London was brought to a standstill by a tube strike and a huge march by teachers, doctors and railway staff, SaySomethingin managed to get to the point of their ire, the Houses of Parliament.

Our CEO, Aran, donned his best, even polishing his green Doc Martins, as we had been invited to a House of Commons reception for Sri Lankan High Commissioner.

Why should we be in such an important place and talking with such exalted, non-Welsh, company?

Here at SSi, in addition to our core belief in the importance of the Welsh language, we believe that learning languages can contribute to an individual’s growth in so many ways, emotionally, socially and economically.

We are currently developing Tamil and Sinhala modules, which are the two languages spoken in Sri Lanka. A local charity there, The Tea Leaf Trust, sees the ability for each language to speak each other and English as key to growth for so many.

At the reception, we met with important Sri Lankan officials including the High Commissioner’s Deputy who is keen to meet with the Welsh Education Minister to find out more about our Welsh language pilot within Welsh secondary schools.

Further evidence that wherever you go in the world, everything always leads back to Wales!

In addition to promoting the Welsh language in Wales (and all over the world,) one of the core purposes of Saysomethingin is to extend the use of its unique language learning methodology to other indigenous and endangered languages.

To achieve this aim we need to understand how to market ourselves abroad, who to partner with in countries we would like to work in and build a robust export strategy.

Fortunately, we have access to a wide range of expert resources that can assist us with these and many other commercial activities through the Welsh Government’s Business Wales initiative.

That is why we attended the Explore Export Wales 2023 conference at Cardiff City Stadium which was organised by Business Wales.

We were able to access top-notch advice around a myriad of export-related topics which, whilst not reading as an exciting top ten of subjects for the dinner table, are in fact vital to get right before we consider expanding our offer abroad – tax, IP protection, finance, trade agreements and training to name just a few.

There was also a chance to meet Welsh Government representatives who are based in the countries we may consider extending the SSi offer to. This local resource is vital to our building the right foundation before committing to any new language provision.

SSi went to a function earlier this week that served as a prelude to an exciting Welsh event to be held later in the year. We very well may attend, to demonstrate our e-learning platform to our Tech peers.

It is Wales Tech Week 2023, which will be held at the ICC, Newport, in October.

See for yourself at https://www.walestechweek.com

The presentation updated all attendees on how the event will promote Welsh Tech on the global stage through…

  • Illustrating the scope of opportunities for Welsh businesses to embrace local Tech
  • Building Welsh Tech talent – “from a talent pool to a talent ocean”
  • Showcasing Welsh innovation
  • Linking government, academia and business

A range of exhibitions, panels and specialist speakers are going to bring Tech to life around three key pillars…

  1. Tech for good
  2. Tech for the planet
  3. Tech for tomorrow

To further develop our distinctive language methodology, SSi aims to take advantage of the exciting opportunities being explored by the Tech sector. We want to increase access to the Welsh language so that more people may learn it when, where, and how they want, in the most engaging ways imaginable. 

We also would love for whatever tech we employ to be Welsh Tech! 

Last week SSi attended the GlobalWelsh, Connect to London, event where eight awesome start-up Welsh companies pitched to a group of London-based business people, investors, and entrepreneurs.

The companies were 2B Enterprising, Kaydiar, Bearhug, Used & Loved, Validient, Everknock, Pintech io, and Voltric, covering a wide range of specialist sectors, from medical provision to electric vehicles, property to secondhand clothing.

We were able to stress the importance of the Welsh language to all attendees – all were really interested in how we see Automagic taking our offer forward. They all realised the importance of Welsh language provision once they had established their offer and secured their immediate funding.

The whole event was sponsored by our old friends, the Development Bank of Wales who introduced us to our wonderful Chairperson, Joanne.

It is wonderful to see such a vibrant, varied, and proudly Welsh start-up business community seeking to influence so many interesting business sectors.

In early February SaySomethingin were invited to the launch of the new S4C programme, Stori’r Iaith, that explores what the Welsh language means to 4 presenters – actress and singer Lisa Jên Brown, The One Show’s Alex Jones, comedian Ellis James, and Countryfile’s Sean Fletcher.


Held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff and hosted by one of the show’s presenters, Sean Fletcher, the event also celebrated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between S4C and the Welsh Government around the 2050 target of 1 million Welsh speakers.

After wonderful music was provided by the enchanting Welsh language singer, Bronwen Lewis, we were told about the need to make such a show to blow the myth of Welsh being both difficult and little used. The significance of assisting everyone in speaking Welsh as they, the speaker, see fit was strongly acknowledged.

Sean movingly told us how having been born in The Bronx, New York, then moving to Braintree, Essex, meant that he only started learning Welsh as an adult after promising to do so at his wedding into a fluent Welsh-speaking family.

His learning process left him feeling that his Welsh was not “good enough” despite his obvious desire to embrace the language. All agreed that Welsh speakers must accept non-grammatically correct use to encourage all newcomers to the language.

This was further music to our ears, as core to the SSi methodology is the idea that language memory is improved through making mistakes. Given this, we are eager to assist S4C and the Welsh Government in bringing about a genuine language shift in Wales.